Travelling, it is often said, is the kind of thing that is most enjoyable when experienced in your youth.
It’s certainly true that people in their 20s have a whole lot to gain from seeing the world, and we won’t deny that there are a lot of aspects of travelling that are much more enjoyable when you’re younger.
Spending hours crammed into a train across Europe, for example, is much less taxing on a young person. As is the hangover that follows an evening spent drinking fish bowl cocktails in an Ibiza nightclub.
However, it is our firm belief that a traveller shouldn’t hang up their backpack when they reach a certain age. In fact, our own experience has taught us that travelling only gets better as you get older.
Don’t believe us?
Read on to find out why you should dust off your neck pillow and hit the road in spite of the date of birth on your passport!
Am I Past My Travelling Prime?
One question that we get asked all the time is “Am I too old to start travelling?” Regardless of your age, the answer is a resounding no! As you get older, your travelling desires may change, but your ability to fulfill them remains the same.
With each new decade comes exciting new experiences to be had across the globe.
We encourage our readers to embrace these experiences as opposed to simply trying to recreate the holidays of their youth.
You’ll find that holidays past can easily be topped thanks to the increased resources and reduced commitments you’ll likely have as an older traveller.
We’re not going to lie, with age comes changed situations. Your experiences as a traveller in your 40s will not be the same as your experiences as a traveller in your 50s.
Nor will your experiences as a traveller in your 50s be the same as your experiences as a traveller in your 60s.
But all will be enjoyable and all will remind you that you are never too old to see the world.
What Are My Increased Resources?
In the previous section, we mentioned older travellers tend to have more resources than their younger counterparts. But what are these resources and why are they so valuable in the realm of globetrotting?
The most important resource for any traveller is, of course, money. Younger adventurers tend to work off a pretty tight budget.
They are often forced to stay in cramped hostels, subsist on street food. We’ve even heard tales of some busking to keep themselves afloat.
If you’re in your 60s or 70s, the chances are you have some money saved up, complimented by whatever streams of income you have.
With increased financial resources, you’ll be able to see the world in style and stay in a comfortable rooms in a high-rated hotel.
You can experience local cuisine in quality restaurants. You can even stock up on souvenirs to give to your friends and family upon your return home.
If you have travelled extensively in the past, it is also likely that you have built up a network of friends across the world.
With these social resources, you can be certain you’ll have company wherever you go, even if you travel alone.
These local friends will be able to guide you towards the best places to eat, the best things to do, and the best stores to spend all that disposable income in.
Okay, Now Tell Me About Those Reduced Commitments
When you’re young, your trips abroad are dictated by your commitments back home.
Even 20 year olds, with all the freedom of youth, must plan their getaways around professional and educational commitments. This means they can only travel for a certain number of days at a certain time of the year.
For older travellers, these commitments are drastically reduced.
If you are retired, you won’t have to worry about organizing your trip to coincide with the summer holidays. In such periods flights, accommodation, and virtually everything else markedly increase in price.
Similarly, older travellers have less personal commitments. Parenting duties, for example, are unlikely to be of any concern to somebody in their 60s or 70s.
This will give you the freedom to explore the globe for however long you wish.
Should I Travel Alone?
As mentioned earlier on, if you have travelled a lot in the past, you have likely built up a lot of connections across the globe.
Such connections would make travelling alone a whole lot easier. That being said, a lot of older travellers are reluctant to make a trip solo.
No matter what age you are, travelling alone can be an extremely rewarding experience.
However, forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is only beneficial when you’re young. When nearing the autumn of your life and if intimidated by the idea of travelling solo, there’s nothing to be gained from forcing yourself to do so.
If you want to travel alone, by all means do so. If you would rather travel with as part of a group, however, we encourage you to persuade a friend or several friends to make the trip with you.
Even if your friends would rather stay at home, you won’t have any trouble finding a holiday deal that will include you within a group of other older travellers, allowing you to see the world while making new friends.
Travelling as part of a group has a number of advantages.
Obviously, you won’t have to worry about the loneliness that creeps in on those long flights and bus journeys through unknown lands. Additionally, travelling as part of a group drastically reduces expenditure.
Accommodation and restaurant bills will be split between your group. Tourist attractions and guided tours also tend to offer group rates, which work out cheaper than if you were to purchase a single ticket.
What Activities Can I Do?
There’s a myth that getting older means you can do less, both at home and abroad. In reality, however, the number of things you can do only increases as you get older. As such, you’ll be able to participate in more activities than ever on your next trip.
Like your 20-something-year-old counterparts, we’re sure you’re going to want to have a few drinks on your next getaway.
Most cities have organized pub crawls. These are designed to help older travellers find pubs where they can enjoy a drink, without the crowds and loud music that is so common in establishments geared towards younger people. If you’d rather a more lively pub crawl, there’s no age limit on them!
One of the great things about visiting new cities in your autumn years is that your priorities will have changed from what they were when you were younger.
This will give you a greater appreciation for the culture and history of wherever you travel to, allowing you to truly enjoy any guided tours you participate in.
Where Should I Visit?
As an older traveller, you’ll have much less restrictions on where you can visit than a younger traveller would.
As we said earlier, younger travellers can’t take as much time off as their older counterparts. This means they can’t travel too far from home, as long flights would eat into their holiday time.
With time in your favour, you’ll be able to commit to lengthy flights, making places like Egypt, Israel, and the United States a possibility.
Italy is a popular spot among travellers of all ages, but we particularly recommend it to older holidaymakers.
With the appreciation for history that comes along with aging, you’ll have no problem finding fascinating tours of the country’s many historical sites.
If you visit Rome, you’ll be able to take advantage of discounted senior citizen rates offered by many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including Vatican City.
You may also want to consider visiting Germany.
Though not a traditional holiday destination, Germany has many attractions geared towards older tourists.
Additionally, the country’s public transport is famously punctual, meaning older travellers won’t have to stay on their feet in the sun or rain while waiting for a bus that should have arrived 15 minutes ago.
To sweeten the deal, Germans have great respect for their elders, so you can be certain you’ll be treated well throughout your stay.
There are ample opportunities for older holidaymakers in Spain.
Throughout the country and its surrounding islands, there are hotels geared exclusively towards older travellers, with those below a certain age not permitted entrance.
This means you’ll be able to relax by the pool without the antics of children and younger travellers interrupting your rest.
This is also a great spot to retire, so you may want to take a look at the apartments and villas that have inspired so many retirees to relocate to the country.
Ultimately, there is no limit to the number of places you can visit as an older traveller. Many of the destinations which seemed like total impossibilities when you were younger – owing to long flights, high prices, and complex visa applications – are now accessible and are just waiting for you to finally visit!